In meetings with President Bill Clinton in Washington this week, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is expected to lay out his vision for cementing peace treaties with the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. The summit follows a week of confidence-building, ice-breaking meetings with Arab leaders that generated high expectations.
Clinton has said he has his own peace proposals, and the two men are expected to try to crystallize them all when they meet again Monday with their staffs in attendance.
Although he was on the verge of assembling a coalition government poised and committed to making peace with Israel’s Arab neighbors, Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak appears to have glossed over domestic conflicts.
“There are a lot of conflicting interests in the coalition,” observed Gerald Steinberg, a political scientist at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan. “The question is whether the parties are going to agree to disagree, or will areas of disagreement keep coming up and hobble the government.”
The first 76 Jews from the Quara region of Ethiopia arrived in Israel this week on a regularly scheduled Ethiopian Airlines flight after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered an all-out effort to bring them to Israel.
by Lawrence Cohler-Esses |
At the urging of leaders in the Iranian Jewish community here, American Jewish leaders this week suspended their public campaign calling for the release of 13 Jews accused of espionage in Iran.
Instead, they are beginning to implicitly acknowledge the inevitability of a trial for the 13 by shifting their demands to the legal arena.
The surprise resignation of Shas Party leader Aryeh Deri Tuesday evening came as Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak was on the verge of assembling a minority government after hitting a stone wall in his attempt to form a broad based coalition.
The Israeli political landscape was rocked again this week with the surprise announcement from Ariel Sharon that he had reached a tentative agreement to bring the Likud Party of defeated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into the new coalition government.
Just last week, the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Aryeh Deri, stunned the nation by giving up his post at the insistence of Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak. Barak had demanded that Deri, who was convicted in April of corruption, step aside before Shas could discuss joining his coalition.